Children – Guardianship, Custody and Access

What We Do

Guardianship of Children

This is the legal term which describes the responsibilities and rights of parents to make decisions in relation to their child’s upbringing.  Married parents are automatically joint legal guardians of their children.  However, the rights of unmarried fathers are different. A father who is not married to the mother of his child does not have automatic guardianship rights to that child. Such a father must apply to court to be appointed joint guardian of a child.

Child Custody

This is the legal term for the day-to-day care and control parents have of their children.  It applies to children under the age of 18. Children live with the parent who has custody. Separated and divorced parents are often granted joint custody of the children, with one parent having day-to-day care and control. Sole custody is the other scenario which involves just one parent looking after the child. If you have questions about how to get custody, you can contact our family law solicitor Helen Coughlan.

Access to your Child

This is the area of family law that relates to the right of a parent, who does not reside with the child/children, to spend time with that child/children.  It can be agreed informally between the parents or if necessary a court order may be obtained with will regulate what time the children will spend with their parents. It can cover overnight, weekend and holiday access. We understand that involving children in court proceedings can be very difficult for parents and we strive to support you through every step of the family court process.